An Arizona mother allegedly sang to her children as she systematically smothered them to death, then posed them on a living room couch to make it appear as if they were napping, according to new court documents released in the case.
Rachel Henry, 22, is accused of killing her three children — including a 7-month-old girl, 1-year-old girl, and 3-year-old boy — in her Phoenix home the night of January 20.
The first to die was allegedly the 1-year-old girl, according to court documents released Tuesday night that were obtained by local station KSAZ-TV.
Henry allegedly told police she been playing and wrestling with the young girl when she felt her daughter’s breathing was obstructed and decided to place her hand over the 1-year-old’s mouth, according to the documents.
The 3-year-old was watching his mother and tried to intervene by shouting “no” and punching Henry as she continued to restrict the 1-year-old’s breathing. Henry allegedly continued to smother the girl until she stopped kicking, which she felt was a sign the child was no longer alive, the documents said.
Henry allegedly then turned her attention to the 3-year-old boy, chasing him until she was “interrupted” when other relatives came home. One of the relatives spent time playing with the young boy before Henry took the boy into a back bedroom to change his underwear.
While they were in the bedroom, she allegedly straddled him with one of her legs and put her hand over his nose and mouth, using her weight to smother him, the report said.
While she was allegedly smothering the boy, she was “singing to the three-year-old male as he was scratching her chest and pinching her while she placed her hand over his nose and mouth,” the report said, according to local station KTVK.
Police said Henry allegedly killed the youngest victim — her 7-month-old daughter — after feeding the baby a bottle and waiting for her to fall asleep.
“Rachel sang her a song as she placed her hand over her face and impeded her breath,” the report said. She then allegedly continued to smother the child until she lost consciousness and died.
Authorities said Henry then placed all three children on the living room couch and posed them to make it appear as though they were sleeping.
An unidentified woman later called police that night to report that three children were found dead in the home. The caller also allegedly told the dispatcher that Henry had a methamphetamine addiction and had been acting strange over the last few days, KSAZ-TV reports.
Henry is now facing three counts of first-degree murder.
Friends who knew Henry while she was living in Oklahoma before she moved to Arizona told KSAZ-TV they were shocked by the allegations against the 22-year-old.
Anthony Repshear and his wife, Tiffany Hardy, became friends with Henry about six years ago and said she had even babysat for their children in the past.
“I never noticed any kind of depression or anger or you know hostility towards children or anyone else,” Repshear told the station.
Hardy added that she “never would have expected” her friend to smother her own children.
“I knew she was unhappy but not to that extent,” she said.
The couple said Henry decided to move to Arizona shortly after her mother died.
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